Did you know that working with plants is directly related to improved mood and overall health? Just the sheer act of gardening can help in weight loss and helps reduce stress. Bryce Wylde's latest book Power Plants shows you not only how easy it is to grow plants in your own backyard but also how plants can work as remedies.
Smoothie1 cup haskap berries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup raspberries
2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tsp chia seeds
8 ice cubes
to taste liquid honey
Comfrey cream10 fresh Comfrey leaves, or 5 flat tbsp dried leaves
1/4 cup coconut oil
75 grams beeswax
Basil Facemask1/4 cup plain yogurt
25 fresh basil leaves
Aloe Juice6 to 8 gel from large aloe leaves, (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed citrus juice (orange, lemon or grapefruit)
1 tsp psyllium powder or wheat bran
Haskap berries are touted to be the super berries of the coming years. It's known by the Japanese as the 'fruit of the longevity'. The Haskap fruit is similar to blueberries in colour, but it is elongated and slightly cylindrical - more like a mini plum. The Haskap berry is known to have five times the amount of anti-oxidant found in a blueberry, making it an antioxidant superfood. It helps prevent heart disease, cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and osteoporosis. It's also well suited to the North American climate.
Time to plant: early spring
Time to harvest: spring to early summer. It's the first berry to harvest in spring.
Recipe for a Haskap Smoothie
In a blender, combine all the ingredients (sweeten with honey to taste) and blend on high speed until smooth.
Comfrey is nature's answer to a band-aid. Native to Europe, it has long been cultivated for its remarkable healing properties and for use as an organic fertilizer. Comfrey's ability to help heal wounds comes from a compound called allantoin, which is believed to reduce inflammation and promote new cell growth.
Time to plant: Sow seeds directly into garden in early spring or purchase transplants in mid-spring.
When to harvest: flowers in early to mid summer, roots in fall
Recipe for Comfrey Cream
The Comfrey Cream is great for topical application to heal ankle sprains, aching arthritic joints and sore muscles without the strong smell of most topicals and it's easy to make on your own.
In a blender, puree the comfrey leaves with enough water to make a thick paste. In a small heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water (acting as a double boiler), melt the coconut oil and beeswax, stirring occasionally. Add the pureed comfrey and mix thoroughly. Transfer the mixture to a small glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Once the cream has cooled and solidified, apply it liberally to the affected area. The cream will keep in a cool, dry place for a year.
Caution: North America has banned oral medicines containing comfrey. Avoid ingesting comfrey, as these compounds are toxic to the liver. And generally too, women planning to use herbs during pregnancy or breastfeeding should consult a qualified medical practitioner.
One of the healthiest and tastiest herbs to use in the kitchen. Plucked fresh from the garden, it adds flavour to a simple salad or pizza. Basil leaves have traditionally provided relief from indigestion and acts as a remedy for irritation of the skin and digestive tract. It has a long list of other uses, including treatment for stomach spasms, kidney conditions and insect bites. Unfortunately, basil isn't the easiest plant to grow because it's cold sensitive.
Time to plant: spring after the threat of frost has passed; can be sown indoors six to eight weeks before last frost date
Time to harvest: early summer through fall
If you're suffering from a stomach ache, basil tea is a natural way to ease the digestive system. And if you have acne, a basil blemish mask is your solution.
In a blender, combine 1/4 cup plain yogurt with 25 fresh basil leaves and blend on high speed until smooth. Apply evenly to your face and leave on for up to 30 minutes. Rinse with cool water.
Aloe vera is a cactus-like succulent plant with thick, fleshy leaves. The aloe family probably originated in Africa, but it has been cultivated all over the world for centuries. The gel from aloe vera leaves has been used for thousands of years to treat wounds, skin infections, burns and other skin conditions. It may also be the most important plant discovered for digestive health. More than 60 million North Americans suffer from frequent heartburn and drinking homegrown aloe juice will reduce the acid in your stomach immediately.
Time to plant: Can be grown indoors year-round. Pots can be placed outdoors after threat of frost has passed.
Time to harvest: Harvest mature rooted plants only; they should have three to five leaf stems.
Recipe for Juice
Using a very sharp knife, carefully peel away the rind from as many aloe leaves as necessary to extract six ounces of gel. Discard the rind. Peel away the top yellow layer (the aloe latex) and discard. Transfer the aloe gel to a blender and add the freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon and 1/2 cup of water. Blend on high speed until smooth (but not frothy). Drink immediately.
Capsicum — more popularly known as peppers — add brilliant colour, robust flavours and often tremendous heat to dishes around the world. A pepper's heat depends on the concentration of a phytochemical called capsaicin. Research shows capsicum can help you lose weight in three ways: by increasing your metabolism, improving your energy and reducing your appetitie.
Time to plant: late spring
Time to Harvest: summer
Recipe for Capsules
By consuming 10 grams of cayenne pepper with food daily, you're likely to eat less. And research shows that cayenne could also boost metabolism. But if you're afraid to have 10 grams (equal to 2 teaspoons) you can make your own easy-to-swallow capsules.
Start by purchasing a bag of 1,000 milligrams empty gelatin capsules from your local health food store. Pick 30 fresh cayenne peppers and sun dry them. Once dry, place the peppers in a blender, cover with the lid, and pulverize to a fine powder.
Transfer the powder to a bowl and using latex gloves, carefully (don't get the powder into your eyes or lungs) fill the capsules. Take 5 capsules twice daily with food to enjoy a significantly reduced appetite and an increased metabolism.